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What has captivated VDNKh visitors over 80 years of its existence: Nuclear reactor, 20-meter Stalin and other legendary exhibits
What has captivated VDNKh visitors over 80 years of its existence: Nuclear reactor, 20-meter Stalin and other legendary exhibits

The All-Union Exhibition (VSHV), conceived in 1934, was supposed to reflect the positive aspects of collectivization carried out in agriculture. This plan, in contrast to many, was "fulfilled and overfulfilled." For more than 80 years of its existence, VDNKh has not only become one of the symbols of Moscow, but also perfectly reflected all the changes taking place in our country. Over the years, very unusual buildings and exhibits could be observed on the territory of the exhibition.

Ice Cream Pavilion

Pavilion "Glavkholod", VDNKh, 1950s

This wonderful building, somewhat reminiscent of Gaudi's masterpieces, appeared at VDNKh in 1939. It was designed by the architect A.A. Belsky. At first the pavilion was called “Glavkholod”. Inside, visitors could get acquainted with the work of Glavkhladprom and taste ice cream in the hall for 80 people. According to a widespread legend, according to the initial project, a penguin was supposed to be at the top of the structure, but during the approval, the high authorities became interested in where the penguins live. It turned out to be at the South Pole, not far from the coasts of America, Australia and South Africa. Then it was decided to replace the figure of the imperialist bird living so far from the Soviet Union with a polar bear that is closer to us. In 1954, after reconstruction, the pavilion sparkled like a real snow house thanks to the structured plaster coating with the addition of mica and marble chips, and on the top there was a figure of a fur seal with a bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately, its visitors hardly remember this wonderful cafe now, since by the 80s the pavilion did not work. After a fire in 1986, it was completely destroyed.

Pavilion "Ice Cream" after reconstruction in 1954, VDNKh

Operating nuclear reactor

Nuclear reactor exhibited at VDNKh

From 1956 to 1963, the Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes pavilion worked at VDNKh. As the main exhibit, visitors could see a real nuclear reactor in action. Here is an excerpt from the exhibition brochure:

Looking into a steel tank filled with water, everyone could see the operation of the reactor. In this case, the only protection against radiation was a 5-meter layer of water. Thanks to the Cherenkov effect, the glow of the water added clarity to the processes. Later, the reactor was dismantled, and now this pavilion is called "Nature Conservation". Fate (or the former VDNKh leaders) cannot be denied a sense of humor.

The pavilion "Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes", having changed its name and theme several times, now talks about nature conservation

Statue of Stalin

The 25-meter-high monument to Stalin has decorated the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition since its opening

The giant leader looked graciously at the visitors of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition from 1939 to 1951 at the pavilion "Mechanization and electrification of agriculture in the USSR" (now it is the pavilion "Space"). The authors of the 25-meter monument were awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941. For many years this sculpture was one of the symbols of the Exhibition and it could be seen in all the films of those years dedicated to the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition - "Foundling", "Light Path" and "Pig and Shepherd". However, later the frames with the monument were cut out. The monument had one huge flaw. Since it was built, as is often the case, in a hurry, hurrying to the opening of the Exhibition, reinforced concrete was used instead of the expensive and more time-consuming granite to process. The sculptor S. D. Even then, Merkurov warned that such a sculpture would stand no more than 5-6 years, but the statue, like a real Soviet patriot, also "exceeded" the deadline and lasted for 10 years.Then it just started to break down. In 1951, the monument was not reconstructed, but simply dismantled with the following wording:

Creation of the sculpture "Stalin" at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, 1939

Cinema "Circular Panorama"

Circular Kinopanorama pavilion at VDNKh

It’s hard to believe, but during the Khrushchev thaw, a panoramic cinema with a 360-degree all-round view took spectators in Moscow. Circarama panoramic cinema technology was first presented in the USSR at the American National Exhibition in Sokolniki. American developers at Walt Disney implemented this analog miracle back in 1955. Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev decided at all costs to show the whole world that we are not bastard and gave the task to scientists from NIKFI (All-Union Scientific Research Film and Photo Institute) to "catch up and overtake" the Americans. In the days of the Iron Curtain, such tasks were considered strategically important, so our craftsmen completed the task in just three months. Of course, we looked at something from our overseas colleagues, but in general, the technology turned out to be completely ours.

Panoramic films are filmed specifically on 11 cameras at once

The cinema projection system consisted of 11 projectors and screens arranged in a circle to form a full panorama, and also included a surround sound system with nine channels. Films for panoramic films were filmed by a system of 11 cameras installed on the platform. This equipment was transported throughout the Soviet Union: to Baikal, to the Crimea, Karakum, to the Caucasus. A total of 18 films were shot from 1959 to 1991. Today you can still see only three of them. In those years, the cinema at VDNKh worked 12 hours a day, and the queue lined up for it from the night. Today this pavilion is also in operation, and the analogue predecessor of 5D cinema systems is the pride of the complex.

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